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Are C-sections overused? Part 2: new guidelines issued

In the first part of this post, we began discussing the balance that medical professionals must strike regarding the use of C-sections.

As we noted, doctors must move quickly to perform them when needed in cases of fetal distress. But C-sections must not be overused either, because there can be many complications from unnecessary major surgery. Having a C-section also elevates the risk of complications occurring during future pregnancies.

In this part of the post, let's discuss new guidelines that are intended to cut down on the excessive use of C-sections.

Two medical groups - the American College of Obstetricians and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine - collaborated on release of the guidelines in a medical journal.

Under the new guidelines, women who are going through the birthing process for the first time are encouraged to push for a minimum of three hours - unless they give birth sooner, of course.

Indeed, these first-time mothers-to-be are supposed to be allowed to try for a natural birth for even longer than three hours if they are given an epidural anesthetic.

In addition, the guidelines also call for appropriate use of forceps to facilitate vaginal delivery.

It may be that doctors have become too preoccupied with flashing monitors that keep calling out the fetal heart rate. They need to do a better job of interpreting that data and determining when a child in the womb is actually in distress and at undue risk of birth injuries.

In short, doctors need to be more strategic, like Julius Caesar himself, about when to use C-sections.

Source: OPB, "Doctors Urge Patience, And Longer Labor, To Reduce C-Sections," Feb. 21, 2014

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